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The Legislative Report

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The Legislative Report


The Gazette Staff

Austin: On July 6th, an abortion rights group asked a U.S. District Court judge to halt enforcement of the state's new pre-abortion sonogram law. The group says the law is unconstitutionally vague and an improper intrusion on a doctor's free speech rights.

However, a lawyer for the state argued that the Center for Reproductive Rights has failed to prove its claims and should not be granted a preliminary injunction forbidding enforcement of the law. The measure is scheduled to take effect on September 1

st with enforcement to start on October 1st. A ruling is about three weeks away. The judge has requested additional briefs from both sides.

If left intact, the law would require a doctor to perform a sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion. The woman can decline to view the sonogram or hear the fetal heartbeat but she must hear the physician describe what the sonogram shows. Woman can opt out of this in cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormality.

Congressional primaries are eight months away, but campaigning has already begun in a potentially contentious Democrat race. It pits a young state representative against a long-serving incumbent.

State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D- San Antonio is running against U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, an Austin-area Democrat who has served nearly 17 years in Congress. The district in question is District 35, a newly-drawn district that runs from Austin to San Antonio. About 58 percent of the district's voting population is Latino.

There is still a lot of buzz across the nation as to whether Texas Governor Rick Perry will enter the presidential 2012 race, and, if so, when he might announce.

Perry is scheduled to speak on September 14 at Liberty University during a school convocation.

However, Perry will host a Christian prayer and praise event about five weeks earlier, in the first half of August. The event, called the Response, will be held at Houston's 75,000 –seat Reliant Stadium. Perry called on the American Family Association, a Christian advocacy group, to organize the event.

It is this reporter's bet that Perry will announce just before this event or soon after.

On the money front, fund-raising in a presidential primary and contest nationally is a lot different than raising money for a Texas governor's race.

In the time leading up to his 2010 re-election, Perry had a substantial number of large donors, amounting to about $15 million of the $40 million he raised.

Nationally, individual donors can give just $2,500 for the primary and another $2,500 for the general election. Adding in a spouse's donation, the total could be $10,000 per household.

However, there are two things a candidate can do. Major donors can solicit other donations, within the limits, and "bundle" these together. Obama's people become very good at "bundling" in 2008.

Additionally, campaigns can create what is known as a Super PAC. This allows donors to raise and spend unlimited amounts to help their candidate. Plus, Perry himself can tap small donors nationwide who care about the race for the White House. How much cash is currently being held back until things shake out a little is unknown. Also, Perry's people have a history of being very savvy at raising money via the Internet and in using those funds for Internet campaign efforts.

The web is becoming increasingly important in the world of political campaigning.